Breaking the bread of life

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

"Everywhere, the cost of food is rising sharply," reported The New York Times (March 9). "Whether the world is in for a long period of continued increases has become one of the most urgent issues in economics." Some say that rising food prices could be more of a problem for the US economy than rising fuel prices, because food accounts for over three times what fuel does in people's budgets.

But that article also mentions some hopeful signs: "In recent years, the world's developing countries have been growing about 7 percent a year, an unusually rapid rate by historical standards." While it's true that this is creating higher demands and driving up the price of agricultural commodities, it's also true that "the high growth rate means hundreds of millions of people are, for the first time, getting access to the basics of life, including a better diet."

But must the advancements that improve some lives result in problems for others? Is it all just about competition for a share of the global food pie?

Answers to those questions come from increased spiritual understanding. The issue of short food supplies and rising prices may appear so daunting that prayer can seem almost incidental. But prayer brings ideas, and ideas bring solutions. Ideas that heal come from the divine Mind. Seek the things of God first, said the master Christian, and the needful things "shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). Jesus was referring to the necessities of life, among them food.

Speaking of higher laws than those of economics, the founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, made an observation that goes beyond the apparent brick wall of limited resources and "too many mouths to feed." The Science of Christianity, which she discovered in 1866, holds the promise that humanity can rise above limitation, through understanding the simple truths Jesus taught and practiced. And the Bible records how Jesus produced food for everyone, even in times of stark shortage. While we may not instantly solve today's food challenges on the scale that Jesus did, we can contribute practical solutions to the individual and collective need to feed ourselves affordably. Nobody is left out of God's promise, and nobody receives at another's expense. As Mrs. Eddy wrote, "In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and the fishes, – Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 206).

Spiritual ideas that fuel prayer and help us tackle this issue come through the influence of the Christ, Truth, which Jesus expressed – through God's message speaking to human consciousness. As the Christ leavens human consciousness, ideas come to light that bring progress, just as they did in Jesus' time.

And today, as in Jesus' time, contrary mental currents push and pull to advance a matter-based view of life with all its limits and grasping for monopoly power. Christ-borne ideas are recognizable for the universality of their benefits. Spiritual ideas multiply the blessings, while materialistic aims divide and hoard resources; they spread only fear.

Grain lies at the heart of rising food costs; simply put, the world can't seem to grow enough grain for bread, the fundamental food for many people. This drives prices up and divides the haves from the have-nots. But is the need really for more seeds to grind into flour and ship in sacks to those prepared to pay the highest price? Or is it for more of that leavening truth of the Christ? Don't we most need to understand more of the truth taught by Jesus, who called himself the "bread of life" (John 6:48)?

With deeper understanding of Jesus' teachings, society's perspective will change to one that is solution-oriented, infused with healing. We're not pawns in a food-chain chess match – not when we accept the "bread of life" as representing the substance of our being. And then go about breaking spiritual bread with our neighbors.

Adapted from an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.

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